An American missionary has chosen to remain in Haiti during the global coronavirus pandemic, despite the nation being labeled as the “worst” place in the world to be during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lindsay Anderson is with the Christian non-profit HSMS Haiti and she decided to ignore calls by the US Embassy to leave the country immediately, trust God and continue with her missions work.
“Most of the Americans have left to better take their chances in the States with the potentials of corona,” she wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “Dana took the last flight out as well. The US Embassy advised to leave unless you are ready to stay in Haiti indefinitely…. I chose to stay.”
One of the reasons for the Embassy’s concern include kidnappings for ransom that have increased in recent weeks. Last week, the director of a top hospital in Haiti was kidnapped. That’s concerning, but the response from the hospital staff was eye-opening, to say the least. From US News and World Report:
The director of one of Haiti’s top hospitals was kidnapped on Friday, prompting staff to refuse to take in new patients in protest as the impoverished country battles an outbreak of the novel coronavirus amid a spike in gang violence.
With kidnappings for ransom, sorely needed hospital staff striking and a society that is nearly impossible to social distance, already existing crippling poverty, all add up to a dangerous recipe for anyone who may end up having to battle coronavirus.
Why Did Anderson Stay?
After explaining the restrictions in place — schools are closed, gatherings of over 10 people are restricted, and there’s an 8pm curfew — the Haitian people are equipped for situations like this. Mainly through trial by fire:
“Good News: Because of the 2010 cholera outbreak, the Haitians are pretty well versed in the washing hands with Clorox so there are bleach buckets at every store door,” she said. “Outside of that, we pretty normal day-to-day. Streets are still full. Markets are still selling. No shortages of supplies yet which is good because that was my biggest worry for here as this past fall shortages riled up the people and caused a lot of suffering.”
Haitians are battle-tested having been through devastating earthquakes and hurricanes in recent memory. A virus is concerning, but there’s no panic – yet.
“I’m glad to be here. There isn’t fear like it seems to be in the States. We are used to crazy things coming up like this and we are just taking it day by day as most Haitians do anyhow.”
Anderson pointed out that if the virus ends up hitting hard, there could be some potentially serious issues as “social distancing in Haiti is impossible.”
“I was here when a couple of other diseases swept through: cholera, chikungunya, pink eye, and measles and they just went through like life just goes on,” she added.
As for her faith, Anderson adds some perspective in the midst of the uncertainty. “God is in control,” she says. “We had an interesting discussion the other night at bible study about NOT necessarily praying for the corona to stop, but rather praying that We would listen and learn from what God might be teaching us. Prayers of mercy may be heard but the lesson in the trial and the fire may be more important than sparing us of the suffering. This disease is surely revealing a lot about our faith.”
She concluded with some thought-provoking commentary on much of the panic and fear we’re seeing around the world, even from Christians.
“I see and hear much fear in the world and I think many have wandered from their assurance of who sits on the THRONE and who has counted the number of our days. Life after our day of salvation is spent for HIM and so if the day comes to say goodbye to this world, we hear a ‘welcome to heaven’. It’s a win. Why do we cling so strongly to this life unless we fear or lack assurance of what comes after our last breath?”